Turkish diplomats are safe and have returned home. In fact, out of the 49 people that were held hostage, 46 were Turkish citizens and most of them were security members of the Turkish Consulate in Mosul that was stormed by Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS) militants. Turkish authorities were extremely relieved and happy about the outcome of this tense situation, and very understandably so. ISIS has been engaging in such an incredible number of atrocities that it had become a real and very serious problem for Turkey to get its citizens safely back home. This has obviously been done. That should constitute a very important success for Turkey.
Now that the worse is over, questions are being asked: how come the situation of the abducted personnel has been solved without firing a shot, almost unopposed? Obviously, dealings and secret negotiations were held and a price has been paid. In the present situation of the information gathered, no one clearly wants to establish the details of the dealings. Usually, such important negotiation details are known to the general public in the long term after 20 years or longer.
Moral standards are evaluated from a very flexible viewpoint when it comes to saving the lives of abducted innocent people. When it comes to saving the lives of representatives of a state, the approach tends to be even more flexible. In 1976, the Pinochet military junta in Chile accepted, because of the pressure exercised by the U.S., to liberate Luis Corvalan, the imprisoned and tortured secretary general of Chilean Communist Party. In exchange, the Soviet Union accepted to liberate the famous Soviet dissident Vladimir Bukovsky, who held no political mandate but was severely opposed to the treatment of political prisoners in concentration camps and prisons. Nobody at that time really understood how a high-ranking politician, illegally held by a military junta could be exchanged by a regime opponent whose detention was arbitrary. The then secretary general of the French Communist Party, Georges Marchais, famous for his torrential elocution and striking formulas, described the whole operation as "minable" (pathetic). Corvalan answered by saying, "Comrade Marchais was wrong in his analysis." Corvalan went to settle in the now defunct East German Republic, where he was treated for his wounds and maltreatment. Bukovsky settled in Cambridge where he played an important role in organising what would be called the Resistence International[PK1] , a large society against illegal and arbitrary detention in the world. Corvalan passed away in 2010 whereas Bukovsky is 71 and continues his important work with endless energy and motivation.
This remains a good example of how not to remain restrained by stringent moral rules when it comes to saving lives. Still, a number of questions are to be asked and assessments need to be made. First of all, how would allied countries get rid of ISIS? Secondly, now that the Turkish citizens are safe, we need to know why Turkey was caught by surprise so incredibly in Mosul. Third, how can ISIS forces be contained and dismantled without the participation of land troops? Fourth, before ISIS was established, the situation was already a terrible and bloody quagmire in Syria, so what good is the dismantling of ISIS? What would be the perspectives offered to the poor populations of the two big countries of Syria and Iraq?
Speaking about perspectives, ISIS's recent attacks on Kobane in Syria has shown how difficult it is to establish and secure "statehood" in a region where there is a multitude of non-democratic regimes. Despite the general feeling that a Kurdish state has become unavoidable, the viability of such a polity chiefly depends on the establishment of democratic regimes both in Syria and Iraq and the consolidation of democratic ties with Turkey. In Iraq, the eviction of Nouri al-Maliki as prime minister has created a semblance of unity, which remains very weak still. In Syria, nobody knows what to do and how to do it. The only common denominator of all the analyses published in different newspapers in Europe today is the "expectations" from Turkey. Almost every analyst expects Turkey to do something – some to send in its military forces and others to establish a humanitarian corridor.
In the meantime, Turkey is hosting 1.5 million Syrian refugees, a hundred thousand Syrian Kurds who desperately entered Turkish soil fleeing ISIS – Turkey welcomes everyone for humanitarian reasons, so to say – probably a couple hundred-thousand more people are likely to reach Turkey in the coming days, they will also be accommodated. Now the real problem emerges: without Turkey, massacres in the northern Middle East would take the form of genocide. With Turkey's policy of open frontiers, the bloodshed could have been averted to a large degree, especially in border regions. The permeability of the borders have been one of the most persistent criticisms against Turkey, but nobody protested when 400 PKK fighters crossed this frontier in the other direction to go fight ISIS forces.
Such a situation will require a much deeper and detailed analysis in the coming weeks. However, a simple assessment has to be made, especially for all the allied countries and forces to Turkey. How about trying to give a hand to Turkey, which carries all the responsibility of the humanitarian disaster, instead of asking from Turkey different, contradicting and unfeasible political moves?